What are the easiest fonts for kids to read? Typographical choices should be always driven by purpose, audience, and subject. It will be a different font for a logo, book or a worksheet for kids.
Once you start teaching your kids how to read and explore different books, you will realize that not all of them are easy to read. Some are even discouraging. When I started to create materials for children I decided to investigate which are the easiest fonts for kids to read. I wanted to make sure that they are able to benefit from it and enjoy it without much struggle.
How is typography for children different?
When kids learn how to read or even to learn what letters are they will start from recognizing each character one by one. It is a very slow process for them and it can get very boring and frustrating.
Once they start recognising each characters, they will try to put it together. If the font is not good, it will be difficult for them. Fancy, complex fonts will also make them confused about difference between text and images.
What are the characteristics of easy to read fonts?
The typeface should have a warm, friendly look with simple, generous
letter shapes. The counters should be rounded and open, not angular or rectangular.
Typefaces with larger x-heights are generally easier to read than those with short x-heights, especially in the case of children.
For very young readers, designs should be with one-story ‘a’s and ‘g’s (also called infant characters) since these are the lowercase shapes preschool and school-age children learn to write (Strizver, n.d.).
Avoid decorative and complex fonts to embrace realistic letter shapes.
Make sure that the font is legible. If you cannot read it then your child definitely cannot learn from it. You can avoid for example condensed, extended, bold or hairline weights.
Depending on the medium and age of child try to set the font to at least 14-24 points and with leading 4-6 points.
Avoid all caps and long lines as those make the reading more difficult.
What are the best fonts for kids?
My favourite font for kids is Sassoon Primary. It fits all the good font characteristics!
Andika – free Google font
Futura – available on most computers
KG Neatly Printed Font – free for personal use
Want to know more?
Ilene Strizver writes a great article on typography for children.
Here you can find some more studies about legibility.